The CEO walked out of her office, looked around and muttered, “Everyone has gotten so fat.”

And then she hired a personal trainer for the team.


The team at this point doesn’t care why.

They’re demoralized.  And feel like now, on top of their jobs where they feel overworked and underappreciated, their boss thinks they’re fat and wants them to track their food intake and exercise.

The CEO doesn’t know that someone overheard her and shared with the team what she said.   She doesn’t know that she hurt feelings.  She doesn’t know that her entire intention has been undermined.

What was her intention?  I’m not sure.  But someone did tell me that to their knowledge, “she’s good people.”  So as someone who’s generally good people, chances are she was wanting health and wellness for her people.  Perhaps for productivity, perhaps for health insurance, but also very likely because she cares about her team.

And now, she’s more clueless than ever and morale has tanked further.  Because the other thing she doesn’t know is that the team is struggling on the morale front – so much so, that some suggest the increase in weight is linked to the decrease in morale caused by several culture challenges.

So here we sit, clueless leadership with a demoralized team.  Both care.  Both stuck.

And it doesn’t have to be this way.

All it would take is for one team member to turn it around.  One team member who is committed to step up and step out and say what isn’t being said – kindly, candidly and constructively.  One team member coming from a place of care, concern and curiosity and honoring who the CEO is committed to being in the world by sharing with her the very blind spot that perpetuates her good intentioned reign of error.  One team member who gets that it’s a crime to allow the 55 people on this team, who are each contributing 2000 hours of their life to this work every single year, to languish.

Here’s a chance to take personal responsibility and be the change you want to see in the world.  Be that team member that’s a stand for the success of the CEO, the team and the mission of your work.  This is what it means to be a true culture champion.